Participating in Streetbank's Reverse Advent Challenge this year has really forced me to take stock of my spending habits and made me realise how in previous years I have spent lots of money acquiring numerous things, which I have subsequently found myself giving away for the past month.
I've deliberately tried not to think about how much I've paid for the things I've given away, as it would be just too depressing and anyway it is irrelevant as I no longer wanted these things and I don't begrudge giving them away, so it would be pointless and inappropriate. Thankfully, much of it has been bought in charity shops or sales, and then has been well used by me or others over a number of years, so it could have been a lot worse.
Obviously, some things have been bought and never used or used very little, and it is the purchase of these items that it is harder to justify. Anyway, I'm not going to give myself a hard time over it, as it has been done and I can't change that, but what I can do is change the way I choose to spend my money in the future.
Whilst also trying to pay off my overdraft this year, obviously run up over a number of years by spending money on things that I didn't actually have the cash to pay for, I have come to realise that my spending habits in the past really did need to be curbed, and they have been to a large extent this year. I have spent much less time mooching around the shops and charity shops, instead finding other things to do with my time, and the urge to shop, although not having disappeared altogether, as I do enjoy it, has become much less overwhelming over the last couple of years. I think I've surprised myself.
All of this is good news of course, but it is something that I have to be conscious of and sometimes I do find myself 'going shopping', for recreation when there is no real need. I will obviously continue to try to work on resisting this urge in the coming year, and can't make any promises, as I do enjoy shopping as a pastime, like many people in the UK today. However, gratuitous purchasing of unnecessary items is not the answer I now realise and doesn't provide any solutions in the long term. In actual fact, it largely just creates more problems; storage problems, finding what you need in a house that has too much stuff, and paying for the things you've bought, especially if bought on credit.
Even buying fabric and craft materials to be creative with and make clothes or other things for the home can become problematic, especially when you don't actually get around to the making, because you can't actually see the wood for the trees. I've definitely curbed my fabric buying on a personal level, as I already have too much and no more room to store any. I've done it on a business level too and tried to sell stock I already have before buying more.
I'm also trying to stop stockpiling food, toiletries and other items. I have just about already achieved this aim in the last 6 months of this year. After successfully completing the beauty challenge, failing the household challenge and trying to empty cupboards of excess food, I made a promise to myself to stop and I have, although the urge to place the odd Approved Foods order does sometimes get the better of me.
I am looking forward in the New Year to spending slightly more money on much better products in food, household and beauty terms and enjoy indulging us in nicer products, rather than buying the cheapest options and not enjoying the experience of using/eating them so much. What I guess I'm saying here is, that it's going to be a buy less, buy better year for me in 2015. It's been a long time coming, but I'm pleased to have got to this point.
What are you aiming to do in 2015?